The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First go at Multi-Grain Struan

SydneyGirl's picture

First go at Multi-Grain Struan

Last night I made Reinhart's whole grain multi-grain struan, with home milled wheat flour and a mix of uncooked seeds.

It went OK, but I'm wondering whether the texture is right or whether it was affected by the fact that I replaced about 75-100g of the wheat flour with rye but added a bit of vital wheat gluten. The bread is lovely and soft, but just a little on the cakey side.  Probably not enough kneading - also I should have kneaded by hand rather than machine, given all the gluten-cutting seeds. While I let it rise for a little bit after kneading, i then left it in the fridge for another day, because it was too late to bake. 

As I was making the final dough, I was a bit alarmed at the amount of sweetener, in my case honey, which the recipe requires. I reduced it a little (to about 40g from 56 g) but, for my taste, the bread is still too sweet. Also, I do miss the sourdough taste in this bread. 

I baked it in an oven with a pan just on top, as the oven gets very very hot on top, which left it rather pale on top. So removed the pan for last 10 minutes and unfortunately left the kitchen during that time, so burned the top. Now it looks burnt, but the taste is actually fine: nice and crisp crust, very soft inside. I think it might just convince a non-wholemeal eater. 

Multi-grain struan


hanseata's picture

Yes, much as I love the "Whole Grain Breads", I always cut way back on the sweetener (the only exception is the whole wheat pita). I use 19 g honey for the Multigrain Struan and I always bake it with sourdough.

I don't think the machine versus hand kneading had anything to do with it, I always use the stand mixer. Adding vital wheat gluten is not necessary, if you exchange just 100 g wheat with rye, it will still rise fine, and gluten affects the taste.

Try it again, it is a really great bread.


Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

I love the recipe for WW sandwich bread but overall I'm disappointed in his book. He goes into so much detail about the starter but then doesn't give a single recipe that can be baked without commercial yeast. Even if you substitute the biga for starter you still have to use the commercial yeast or risk starch attack.

I agree, wasn't crazy about the straun either but I thought it was my choice of grains and seeds. The vital wheat gluten can cause a cakey texture though.

SydneyGirl's picture

I agree with your view about the lack of recipes without sourdough /mother starter. After I first read through all the introductory chapters and flipped to the recipes this was so startling that I actually penciled the type of starter into the index to the book. But until you pointed it out, it didn't register with me that all breads have yeast.

Having said that, there is a big prejudice against making breads with yeast in my family, but my mother was pleasantly surprised about the nice taste of this bread (even though I went a bit overboard by the different types of seeds I used).  

Maybe he doesn't have faith in his own sourdough, or perhaps he just doesn't have a sour dough palate? 

SydneyGirl's picture

Thanks for the tip about the quantity of sweet stuff in this bread. I think a little goes a long way (and I don't generally like adding sugar to bread, anyway). I will try without the gluten. I have to say that the taste is really very nice. I had a couple of slices without anything at all (and it's now about 3 days old), and it was quite tasty. 

hanseata's picture

I baked nearly every bread from the "Whole Grain Breads", using sourdough for all it was mentioned as optional, and then experimented a bit. Apart from reducing the sweetener (I asked P.R. about that once, and he answered, he had "a sweet tooth") I found that I could also reduce the amount of instant yeast by 2 g per bread without any negative result.

Since I'm baking semi-professionally and depend on reliable rising times, adding some instant yeast is helpful. I did not find that the taste of the breads suffered from it.

The difference in taste between a sourdough rye meteil from the book, made with 5 g instant yeast, and my German Feinbrot (typical everyday bread) made with 100% sourdough comes from the much larger amount of mother starter I use, 190 g (versus 63 g).

I am sure that all the sourdough breads from the book can be made with sourdough only, if rising times are no problem, either because you don't have a deadline, or can provide a constant warm environment.

I tried some breads from the book with spelt instead of whole wheat, use some oat flour for the "Oat Bran Broom Bread" and, for the struan, experimented with different grains, with good results.

I really like P. R.s technique, but I think recipes just give you guidelines - you don't have to treat them as words from the bible. My favorite cookbooks are always full of scribbled notes and comments.
















mlucas's picture

I don't have my book with me, but there is another Multigrain Struan later in the book in the Hearth Breads section. I think it is called Multigrain Hearth Bread, with the usual partial-white-flour variant Transitional Multigrain Hearth Bread immediately following.

A few weeks ago I baked that (Trans. Multigrain Hearth Bread), but I used a sourdough levain in place of the yeasted preferment that the recipe called for, and it turned out excellent. I think this can probably be done with any of the recipes that call for yeasted preferment.

The other thing I did was mix and knead the final dough (soaker + levain + whatever else) together without adding the yeast, then cut a third of the dough off and kept separate to make a sourdough-only loaf. (I had doubled the recipe so there was enough for three small loaves. Note when I did add the yeast to the dough that was left, of course I had to likewise reduce the amount.)

The sourdough-only loaf definitely took longer to proof, and I was worried that it would suffer from the problems mentioned in the book when PR explains why he adds the big boost of yeast in the final dough. (something about so many enzymes being activated in the soaker, and not having much time before those react with the preferment to destroy the gluten) However, it turned out fine! I think I threw it in the oven having risen less during proving than the yeasted ones did, but with the oven spring it more than caught up.

The yeast-boosted and sourdough-only versions both tasted quite similar (don't forget the yeasted ones still had a sourdough preferment, and only had yeast added 1-2 hours before baking), but the sourdough-only one was definitely superior in flavour. Of course, that may be due to having timed the baking of it better, and not just due to the lack of commercial yeast. In any case I took it for a family dinner and got lots of compliments as the whole loaf was devoured!

Final notes: the grains I used added were oatmeal (quick oats), flax and cornmeal. None were precooked. Although I thought these loaves turned out great, of course my kids preferred the softer & sweeter Transitional Multigrain Sandwich Bread when I made that!

Cheers and happy baking